Litany: Billy Collins

Litany by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,

The crystal goblet and the wine…

~Jacues Crickillon


You are the bread and the knife,

the crystal goblet and the wine,

You are the dew on the morning grass

and the burning wheel of the sun.

You are the white apron of the baker,

and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.


However, you are not the wind in the orchard,

the plums on the counter,

or the houses of cards.

And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.


It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,

maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,

but you are not even close

to being a field of cornflowers at dusk.


And a quick look in the mirror will show

that you are neither the boots in the corner

nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.


It might interest you to know,

speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,

that I am the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.


I am also the moon in the trees

and the blind woman’s tea cup.

But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.

You are still the bread and the knife,

not to mention the crystal goblet and – somehow – the wine.

Found a quote about Fortitude

asl love hands

(artist and source on the internet unknown. Please leave a comment with information if you know who did this awesome work.)

I just came back from breakfast with a new friend.

I am so thankful to be settling in even further into our new community.

We mostly talked about trying to get into shape so that we can enjoy our respective jobs for as long as possible. Somehow the topic of forgiveness came up though, and I just now found this quote that I had jotted in my “get healthy” journal:

“You will always be
the bread

the knife,

not to mention the crystal



the wine.”

(by poet Billy Collins.

I made the line breaks up myself – something that is a big no, no in the world of poetry…but in the interest of time…there you go.

p.s. I think when I did research on the poem a while ago I found out that he wrote it either because of a painful divorce, or to make fun of sappy break up poetry that is not good literature. I can’t remember which and my son is currently banging a basketball against the wall, so I’d better not dilly dally at the keyboard.

Why Mr. Collins wrote it and what it meant to him at the time does matter… but I like it today because it reminds me of communion and Catholic prayers about the Communion of the Saints.

And I like cheese, and I like wine.)

calling all angels

June 4, 2012

Row Row Rowing When Weddings, Funerals and Graduations are on the Docket

…ever heard the song “Calling All Angels” sung by a woman whose last name is Siberry? Her first name escapes me but I’ll try to attach the song later. I’m guessing most people would find it far too depressing to listen to on a regular basic, but it is a top favorite of myself, my mom and my friend Alice. Basically it’s a grief song, and if you are Catholic I’d give it an 8 out of 10 grief song vote. If you are Irish and Catholic it gets a 12. (Because it was among my mom’s top four favorites ever and she is the granddaughter of 100% Irish immigrants).

Okay, I’m digressing already.

The point of this post (or the next few if my ever loving PC clogs and I have another minifit trying to post this) is:

1: Graduations and Weddings When they are your children and nieces and nephews,  Graduations and Weddings are a grueling/joyful crazy time of life. As an aunt (and friend who claims a few that aren’t blood) my percentage of graduating/marrying/just about to launch a career is approximately. Let’s see. Well, I am nearly at the great-aunt stage ranging to not far past potty training, but mostly heading or doing the adult thing.

I’m tempted to digress to the topic heading: “…and we have little kids at what age?” but will leave that for another day and entire chapter.

2: Don’t know about you, but the last several weeks of such worries and work and plans to celebrate and travel on such subjects is making me a bit of a crazy person, and I’m hanging, for realizes, on a thread. No seriously. I’ve neglected my new knitting hobby and picking it back up is soothing my nerves.

copyright free by Image Zoo, from

3: If you are in my LifeBoat, I highly recommend praying or humming to the tune of rowRow row your boat. I know. Another odd idea from Kate but it’s become my mantra. Sometimes I imagine who or what I am grieving alone in the boat. Sometimes with Jesus. Sometimes with my mom. Sometimes it’s me. Okay, no, I’m introverted so a lot of times it is me alone in the boat or, nearly alone with some other Angel treading along quiet like in little marsh to the side of a creek.

You know, if you have a family, I think, unless you are not connected well to your family pretty much anyone over the age of young adult can appreciate what I just said. Can’t you? No, I take that back a little bit – estrangement from family, from what I hear, is painful too.

So, other than the knitting part if you aren’t a knitter, come on fine friends. Fess up. Single. Parents. Grandparents. Not parents yet. You get what I’m saying, I know you do.

That’s what, other than the Irish Catholic part, Alice, and my mom Carol and I love about that song about the Communion of the Saints that Siberry sings. The theme of it is,




how am I going to do THIS. Which for me, isn’t just “normal,” (funeral) grief, but the elusive, how I feel about the wedding I’m going to this weekend, butI Just Fed that kid (6’ 4” now) cheese yesterday and I’m wanting to knit booties stage that most of my closest friends and I are in right now.

I mean, things like paying tuition and keeping the frig full, medical annoyance or even emergency amidst it all, elder care, alimony, long distance relationships, and something that has made me really mad  annoyed me for a few weeks which is that I’m all jiggy on the bifocals but why can’t I remember that damn simple asparagus recipe that our friend Bud gave me a couple of years ago. It only involves the microwave, a teaspoon of some liquid and fresh asparagus, but I just didn’t get it right during our asparagus jag a few weeks ago.

Speaking of rowing boats. How funny…it was pouring rain a minute ago but it let up.

It’s going to take a while for me to learn the weather patterns around here. Odd, odd, odd.